Psalm 39 Make me know, LORD, my end
This psalm is one of my favorites. It brings me into an experience beyond what I have actually experienced.
Psalm heading - See Psalm 62 for Jeduthun. This psalm heading is unique because it says "through (or for) Jeduthun" rather than "upon Jeduthun". I think it means that Jeduthun and David collaborated on this psalm. Probably the experience is David's. Jeduthun made it into a psalm, and David edited it.
v1 - If you do not guard your ways, you will not be able to control your tongue. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matt 12:34; Luke 6:45).
ref. Ps 119:9; etc
v2 - I restrained myself from saying good.
If someone is yelling at you and calling you names, it is easy to return in kind without intending to. So it is better to be quiet. When a person is yelling at you, he is in fight mode, and does not have the ability to listen or reason.
This psalm seems to be when David was verbally abused by Shimei when David was fleeing from his son Absalom (2Sam 16:5-13).
ref. Amos 5:13; 1Peter 5:8
v3 - First David's sorrow was stirred in v2. Then his heart burned and fire was kindled in his musing. Was the fire David's anger? I think so, but maybe not because he does not use a word for "anger".  I believe it was godly because it was kindled in David's musing. Shimei is cursing David, and David feels sorrow and then anger. It is an involuntary reaction. This caused David to realize that he was not soberly considering the measure of his days, and so he prayed.
ref Ps 1:2; etc on musing
v4 - A prayer we should all make. Live with the end in mind so I can make good use of my time.
ref . Job 14:2; etc
v5 - My existence is so minute compared to the universe and eternity. The same is true for all human beings.
This short psalm uses the Hebrew word ach, meaning "surely" 4 times. This may be a characteristic of Jeduthun, because Psalm 62, which is "upon Jeduthun" uses that word 6 times. But Psalm 77 which is "upon Jeduthun through Asaph" does not use ach.
Many young folk looked at the lives of their parents and said, "They have no meaning." - J. Veron MGee
This verse ends with Selah - think about it.
ref. Ps 62:9; etc
v6 - They are vain because they have not considered their life relative to eternity and God. Even religious people do their works to be seen by men, having their reward in the present. (Mat 6:1-2, 5, 16; 23:5)
Others accumulate much more wealth than they need, not considering that they should be rich toward God. (Luke 12:20-21)
David had been very rich, but now he is a fugitive in the wilderness. This puts his riches and life in perspective.
Think of the Christians who gather fortunes down here and leave it for godless offspring, or they leave it to unworthy so-called Christian work. - J. Vernon McGee
v7 - This could be about making a decision, but there is nothing about making a decision in this psalm. I think David is waiting on the Lord, and he asks the Lord and himself, what is it that I am waiting for. He answers it in the next verses.
v8 - David's suffering of the rebellion of Absalom was due to his sin against Uriah. (2Sam 12:10)
v9 - 2Sam 16:10-12
v10 - ref. Job 9:34; etc
v11 - lit. consume away like a moth his desirableness
This verse, like v5, also ends with Selah - think about it.
ref. Job 13:28; Ps 90:7
v12 - lit. For a stranger I am with you, a sojourner like all my fathers.
At Absalom's rebellion, David had to flee Israel and live in the wilderness (2Sam 15:14,23,28).
David's prayer for the temple and his son Solomon, near the end of his life, expresses this same thought with a humility that is uniquely David's (1Chron 29:10-19). I will memorize this prayer to cultivate  the humble attitude that David had,  which I don't have.
At best we are pilgrims and strangers on earth, and that is the way we ought to live our lives. - J. Vernon McGee
v13 - This first line is a strange prayer.
David had just said, Give ear to my cry. Pay attention to me. Next he says, Be blind to me. These 2 are not contradictory. Hear my prayer, but don't look upon me because of my sin, which is what he said in Ps 51:9 when the prophet Nathan exposed David's terrible sin. Look at my Savior, Christ in my stead.
When David says 'I will be no more' it does not mean that he thought he would no longer exist, but that he would not be in the land of the living. The same phrase is used of Enoch when he was raptured (Gen 5:24).

2/11/2018 copyright Steve Miller